Gulyás from the Farkas Takács Family Recipes!

I believe and thought there was a recipe for Gulyás on this blog, but apparently not!

Being asked for Gulyás is like being asked for a big heaping plate of Hungarian Love. Is there a difference? I think not! I know not a difference! Here is one of many recipes and variations of Gulyás. I may make it a project this year to compile some of the many versions, but for now, here is a gift from my Family to yours!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gulyás, what is it? The meaning of Gulyás in Hungarian is “herdsman”. Coming from a long line of herding people, we become very well acquainted with the many versions of simple theme. The drying of meats, spices, and vegetables was a portable way of bringing foods anywhere, from time immemorial. Often, if one didn’t have any room for vegetables, one only took dried meat and spices with, and harvested what was around when time to make the soup. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABringing the meat and veg back to life with hot water, over a fire in an iron vessel, was the making of sustenance and vital nutrients for the Shepherds. There is a stew that Gulyás is often confused with, but Gulyás is a soup, altho’ sometimes served as wet and moistened meat in its own juices. Following tradition in our Family, we are making soup.

Many different meats may be used in different versions. Offal was always included in the original versions. Cheeks were often used, as well as organ meats. It was common to find many different meats in this soup, unlike the modern versions. Since our Family continues to be traditional eaters, we eat the soup with the ingredients we have on hand. With the eating of animals, we do not waste parts, but consume and use the entire animals as the gift of nutrition and furtherance of life that the animal has given its life to. It is disrespectful to allow food to go unused when a life is taken. This is both a personal stance and a stance of my Family on both sides…is it any wonder that some Hungarians do not fall too far from the ancestral tree? We value and honor each other for passing on the way of living. We live in a way full of blessing, respect and gratefulness. 🙂

Here is a basic and delectable recipe for Gulyás. I’ve kept it simple, because it IS simple at its core, and is the base of building many different versions based on seasonal meats and produce, that are each different expressions of this simple soup from the Great Hungarian Plain.

To get started, find and chop up some meat. We ONLY use pastured and heirloom meats for this. If you choose otherwise, the result will be an industrial Gulyás, which is neither humane nor traditional, and may be contaminated with chemicals/antibiotics and bacteria, OR lacking in adequate trace nutrients such as fat soluble vitamin A, K2, Vitamin C, and more. Today, I had the pickings of some grass-fed stew meat and a pork sausage that is a simple home sausage made with pork, pork fat, salt, black pepper and nutmeg. I chopped the stew meat into chunks and the sausage into rounds. Traditionally, when I have it, I love to use in this recipe beef tongue, beef cheeks and hearts, in addition to a piece of shoulder meat. Today, I made do with what I have.

I chopped these lovely onions, about 4 large ones. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe eat and love onions, THE traditional vegetable to eat with Gulyás. The traditional herders, if having nothing else, would use wild onions.

I chop up the onions, and heat up a cast iron kettle with a cake of pastured lard. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMelt the lard cake in the kettle, and when hot, add your onions. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe trick here is to add about a quarter cup of water to the onions, as you want to cook them until they are translucent and do not want to brown them.

When the onions are translucent, OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAadd your chopped meats to the pot and brown them. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext, add a pinch of salt and 1 tablespoon of black caraway seeds. Add water to cover the onion and meats plus a little extra and allow the meats to cook, approximately one hour or longer if you have very tough meats. The key tip here is to simmer this at a LOW heat, we’re not in a hurry. Notice we haven’t added in the paprika yet, so the saucy broth is tan colored (not red yet!).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

When the meat is cooked, add in pressed garlic, sliced peppers, carrots, potatoes and parsnips (or whatever is on hand).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA At this point, add in another teaspoon of salt and 3-4 tablespoons of smoked sweet paprika. Cook this at a low heat until the root vegetables are done. Serve this with bread or with csipetke (Hungarian pinched dough). Recipe follows. Egg noodles and rice are alternate grain sides if you do not have time to bake bread or csipetke. Realize, that the Gulyás is finished before adding in the vegetables after the spices are added. 🙂 The rest, is just building on the Gulyás Creativity! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Herbed Csipetke. Csipetke is a Hungarian pinched dough noodle. There are many different types of Csipetke that I make, and one day, will devote a posting to some varied recipes. It is simple, just some flour, egg, milk, salt and water, butter and herbs. Mix the ingredients until you have a stiff dough. Place in an oiled bowl to rest for 15 minutes. Roll out into finger sized logs, pinch small pieces and place on a baking sheet. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil, drop noodles in the boiling water, cook for 8 minutes or until floating on top of the water. Remove with a slotted spoon, and mix with butter. In the above photo, I added chopped cilantro and chives on top!

(c) 2014, Summer L. Farkas Takacs-Michaelson, CH 
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